A couple of years ago, I started meeting every week with a guy who is on staff with the Navigators. We got to know each other and developed a friendship out of which we started the discipline of reviewing verses of the Bible that we were memorizing. My friend had been memorizing parts of the Bible longer than I've been alive and I was just getting started with the Topical Memory System. After about eighteen months I had memorized the sixty passages in that pack and have moved on to memorize other passages.
Psalm 119:9,11 says, "How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word. I have stored up your word in my heart that I might not sin against you." That was kind of the reason I started memorizing parts of the Bible. Also, you know, it's one of those things I thought I was supposed to do and, I felt a little guilty that I could quote Homer Simpson better than Jesus. So, I did it. At times I wondered why it was so important to me do something that did not come naturally to me at all. Was it misguided piety? Was it so I could rattle off verses and impress people? I really didn't have that kind of "look at me!" motivation, I just wanted to do it. I think it helped my preaching a bit, but I've never been able to figure out where the discipline fit into my life and ministry.
Tonight, I was getting ready to leave the church when one of my guys had a buddy with him who wanted to talk about baptism. While talking about baptism the guy from my church turned to the other and said, "Are you saved?" I had assumed, wrongly, that if someone was asking about baptism that, well, they were already following Christ. The fellow said, "I don't really know." So, we immediately turned around and the three of us went into my office. I asked him if he even understood the question: what does "saved" mean? I wanted to start at the beginning and explain the human condition. Without thinking I started in sharing and explaining:
Romans 3:23 Romans 6:23 Romans 5:8 Romans 10:9 Romans 10:13 Ephesians 2:8,9 Romans 8:1 2 Corinthians 5:17 Luke 9:23
By the time I got into my truck to drive home I was thinking, "Whoa!" It was amazing to see how a simple discipline meant so much in explaining the love of God in Jesus Christ not with my own words but with God's Word. I carry no authority. It does.
And, because of storing up those words in my heart, one new guy knows the truth about God's love for him and is following Jesus.
Best. Evening. Ever.